Well, it doesn’t look like you’ll have to worry about a “card check” system making it easier for employees to form unions. But don’t expect Congress to let the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) slip away entirely.
President Obama recently admitted that the “card check” provision of EFCA — which would establish a union when a majority of employees simply sign cards indicating their support — doesn’t have enough Congressional support to pass.
But compromise measures are in the works.
These include a proposal from Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) that would, among other things:
- give equal time to union organizers following “captive audience” meetings between management and workers, and
- provide organizers with all announcements or literature distributed by the employer, so union reps can respond.
Another key issue in the legislation: arbitration. Current law requires both labor and management to engage in good-faith negotiations following union certification. But it doesn’t mandate an agreement. So talks can — and often do — go on indefinitely.
Under the current version of EFCA, if the two parties haven’t reached an agreement after 120 days, the matter would go to binding arbitration.
Clearly, that provision isn’t exactly popular with employers. Compromise proposals could include a formal timetable for negotiations, less-restrictive forms of arbitration and a mechanism for employees to vote on a company’s “last best offer.”
We’ll keep you posted.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been actively campaigning against EFCA. For a look at the Chamber’s latest position, go here.